Working on Annie Modesitt got me to thinking of my spa days and the famous people I either saw or worked on there.
I only worked on 3 or 4 famous people the entire 8 years I was at the spa but I saw lots of other well-known faces and will probably gab about them next week.
The first person I worked on was Ryan Leaf. My husband says this man's nickname was Cryin' Leaf and he was the most disappointing first round draft pick in NFL history as he spent most of his career on the disabled/injured list. I say, maybe so, or maybe he was smart and didn't over push himself into early retirement or early arthritis by respecting his body and, guess what? He still makes his millions.
Anyway, I wasn't even supposed to work on him. Another therapist named Chris was scheduled with him and Chris bailed. He said he didn't think Ryan would want a guy working on him and that he (Chris) was tired and Ryan would probably want some super-deep tissue work that he (Chris) just wasn't up to. Personally, I think Chris just wanted to go home early. They asked if I'd cover the massage and I said sure, having no idea who Ryan Leaf was.
They told me he was an NFL quarterback and I expected someone much bigger. He was tall and well built but I guess I was thinking you'd have to be even more muscular or something. Dave says quarterbacks aren't always that big.
Ryan didn't want super-deep tissue and he fell asleep almost as soon as he hit the table! He was the first client I ever had that was actually drooling on the floor through the face cradle. He certainly wasn't the last and it'd make me laugh every time. I heard this little *splick* sound as the drool hit the saltillo tile on the floor. I looked under the face cradle and saw the wet, then I just tossed a small towel down there and kept going. I didn't wake him (or anyone that ever fell asleep like that) until I needed him to turn over. I figure if they are that tired, they need the rest.
He was a nice guy and an excellent tipper. Chris was stupid for leaving! After I finished with him, I was upstairs doing my paperwork before I got to go home. Ryan came up and was wandering around the retail area of the spa picking out golf shirts (at about $80 a pop). A man came in that knew him and, was obviously associated with him somehow, because the guy picked up a couple of shirts and said, "Hey Ryan, can I have these?" Ryan said sure and told the desk girl to put those on his tab, too. He must've dropped about a grand that day in services and retail. I've always wondered who the mooch was... brother? friend? entourage? Either way, he should've bought his own damn shirts!
About a year later, I worked on Curt Schilling. He was pitching for the DiamondBacks at the time and was staying at the spa during Spring Training. He got me as his therapist and received a deep tissue massage. He requested me the next day! That was pretty cool. The second time I worked on him, he signed up for a 75 minute massage and asked me to work just on the rotator cuff and arm on his pitching side. Holy cow! That was tough. Hmmmm, here's everything I ever learned in massage school about arms, and.... let's try this! I was makin' stuff up by the end of it! Another really nice guy and another fantastic tipper.
This next celebrity won't mean much to anyone unless you're from Nebraska. My husband is a HUGE Nebraska Cornhusker fan. )Dave was born in Nebraska but they moved when he was 4!) I worked on this wonderful woman named Nancy Osborne. She was talking and asked if I was from AZ and I said I grew up in CA and where was she from? She said Nebraska. I explained that my fiance was from there. She said her husband used to coach the football team there. I didn't quite hear her correctly at first since she was face down in the face cradle so I asked her to repeat that. She did and I laughed. I said, "You probably hear this all the time but my fiance would LOVE to meet your husband!" She said normally it wouldn't be a problem but they were leaving right after her massage to fly to Phoenix for a book-signing. We talked further, with her asking about our wedding plans. I told her about them and explained that we already had all the names picked out for any future children. I told her how I agreed to let Dave name any first boy with the initials spelling Tom and the middle name being Osborne. Her husband's name. She was laughing so hard, I thought she'd fall off the table! She is one of the sweetest, kindest people I've ever worked on. And not just because of the following...
After my shift that day, I was leaving when one of the desk girls told me there was something waiting for me at the front desk. "What," I joked, "A pink slip?" She said she didn't know. I walked over to the main hotel and there was an envelope waiting for me. Nancy had her husband leave an autograph for Dave! With his name on it and everything! The registration girl was from Nebraska, too and asked if she could Xerox it. I said, "It says, 'Too Dave', but go ahead!" Those Nebraskans are nuts.
Dave had to work that Saturday and so he'd dropped me off and was picking me up. As we were driving out of the hotel driveway, I mentioned that I'd worked on a really nice woman from Nebraska, "What was her name.... oh, yeah, Nancy Osborne." He hit the brakes almost putting me into the dash (I hadn't put my seat belt on yet) and said, "The Nancy Osborne??"
Me: Who's The Nancy Osborne?
D: Only Tom Osborne's wife!!!
Me: Ohhhhh. Well maybe that's why she left you this! [pulls out autograph with a flourish]
I had it framed really nicely for his birthday that year.
The last famous person I worked on was Greg Kinnear. It was during the Clinton trial and my last client of the day was still in the workout room, working out and watching the trial. It was 5 minutes til his treatment started so I went to tell him that it was almost time. Honestly, when the girls at the desk told me who I was working on, I can't say I recognized the name right away. They were all atwitter and I remember thinking the name sounded really familiar. They explained he was the gay artist from As Good As It Gets (which has just been released on DVD) and then I remembered he was the original host of Talk Soup. Love that guy!
I went into the gym and saw him on the treadmill, walking and completely engrossed in the trial on TV. I walked up to him and said, "Mr. Kinnear, I don't mean to interrupt your workout but your treatment starts in about 5 minutes and if you wanted to take a shower beforehand or anything..."
He looked at the clock and said, "Oh Crap! Yes. Yes. Um. OK. Yes. A shower. OK. I'll be right there." He took off, literally running for the locker room! I stood in the hallway and waited. He was out in about 8 minutes but since he took a shower, he got his full time. We walked down the hall together and he was apologizing profusely for being late. I told him it was OK and don't worry about it. Then he starts dancing down the hall (I'm not making this up) and singing, "Just breathe, de-stress, de-stress." That's pretty much how the whole treatment went. He was a real talker and a hysterically funny guy; he cracked me up the whole time!
In the employee handbook we are forced to read in our orientation to become employees at the hotel, there's a very specific place that says, "Don't make a big deal and don't ask for autographs" when we see a celebrity. So I didn't. I asked Greg how he spent his day, was he in the car, at a desk or what? I ask this a lot and in context so that I can give people stretches to do throughout their day. He said, "Well, sort of both" and I could tell by the way he said it that he was a little hurt that I didn't know who he was. I said, "Just kidding, I know who you are. But we're supposed to act like we don't know." He laughed and we kept going with the treatment. And yes, I asked for, and got, an autograph afterward.
When he was leaving, I was still at the desk doing my paperwork. Another therapist named Laura was hanging out at the desk, too. She wasn't working but she came to the spa everyday to do laps in the pool. When Greg came upstairs, she accosted him and started asking him if he remembered her from last year. Apparently she'd given him his first massage ever when he was there a year ago. He clearly didn't remember her but was being polite about it. She said, "Why didn't you request me?"
Greg: Uh, I'm sorry. Um. I didn't know I could do that?
Laura: Oh well, that's OK. I guess you have to get whatever they give you.
Me: HEY! I'm standing right here!
Laura: Well. That's not what I meant.
Greg: [clearly uncomfortable and sliding towards the door] Thanks for everything, Ruth! [nearly ran away!]
(Laura called me later to apologize, which is what she's famous for. It was the 3rd such phone call I'd received from her in the year that I'd known her. I told her not to call and apologize anymore. I said, "Isn't it so much easier to call and apologize later then to actually think before you speak??")
Anyway, for a couple of years after I worked on Greg Kinnear, whenever Dave and I would see him on-screen somewhere, I'd lean over to Dave and whisper, "I touched his butt." (In a perfectly professional manner!)
Next time, I'll tell about the people I met but didn't work on!
Stars in my eyes (and occasionally under my hands!), Ruth!